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View MrRon's profile

Wood joints

by MrRon
posted 07-09-2017 04:51 PM


27 replies so far

View papadan's profile

papadan

3584 posts in 3671 days


#1 posted 07-09-2017 04:59 PM

I just butt the wood together and clamp. If it is small, I sometimes throw in a dowel for added strength. Really all depends on what you’re building.

View Loren's profile

Loren

10477 posts in 3951 days


#2 posted 07-09-2017 05:03 PM

For me, I like dowels. A good jig or two
makes doweling faster.

Biscuits are fast but you have to clamp.

Kreg joints are okay but due to the angle
of the screw they have a tendency to slip
slightly out of alignment when assembled,
adding sanding time.

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

5134 posts in 2612 days


#3 posted 07-09-2017 05:08 PM

Why are we ignoring the Domino machine? ”. There are machine that make all the joints you mention in you post.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

5134 posts in 2612 days


#4 posted 07-09-2017 05:11 PM



For me, I like dowels. A good jig or two
makes doweling faster.

Biscuits are fast but you have to clamp.

Kreg joints are okay but due to the angle
of the screw they have a tendency to slip
slightly out of alignment when assembled,
adding sanding time.

- Loren


I don’t think I’ve ever made a dowel joint. So I have to ask. Do dowel joints not need clamping like biscuits do?

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View Loren's profile

Loren

10477 posts in 3951 days


#5 posted 07-09-2017 05:17 PM

They hardly need clamping and they go
together flush. I clamp them anyway
but not much pressure is required and
the clamps can come off pretty quick.

Say you’re mitering a corner. With a biscuit
you’d have to figure out a way to clamp it
until the glue sets. With dowels, often
the joint can just be pushed together.

View Woodknack's profile

Woodknack

12658 posts in 2683 days


#6 posted 07-09-2017 05:42 PM

Dowels had a bad reputation for a long time and I’ve seen plenty of doweled furniture come apart (glue starved) so deep down I don’t trust them for anything other than alignment but fluted dowels might have better durability. The tricky part is there needs to be some slop for glue, otherwise a tight fit will push all the glue out. That’s why fluted probably work better. Biscuits are a fast and easy lightweight joinery. When I hear complaints about slop, is usually with Freud or other inexpensive plate joiner.

-- Rick M, http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

View 000's profile

000

2859 posts in 1202 days


#7 posted 07-09-2017 05:57 PM


When I hear complaints about slop, is usually with Freud or other inexpensive plate joiner.

- Rick M

Technique!

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

5134 posts in 2612 days


#8 posted 07-09-2017 06:01 PM



Dowels had a bad reputation for a long time and I ve seen plenty of doweled furniture come apart (glue starved) so deep down I don t trust them for anything other than alignment but fluted dowels might have better durability. The tricky part is there needs to be some slop for glue, otherwise a tight fit will push all the glue out. That s why fluted probably work better. Biscuits are a fast and easy lightweight joinery. When I hear complaints about slop, is usually with Freud or other inexpensive plate joiner.

- Rick M

Biscuit slop (I have a ELU “Dewalt” joiner) that’s why I finally went with a Festool Domino. But….I still use my BJ from time to time because sometimes I want a little slop.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View ArtMann's profile

ArtMann

1325 posts in 1119 days


#9 posted 07-09-2017 11:42 PM

Dowel joints are easy but you have to be willing to spend over $100 on a good jig. The cheap self centering ones are just too hard to match up holes. Jessem and Dowel Max are the only two brands I know of that are worth using. They provide an error free placement of adjacent pins.

I am fond of using pocket screws where it is appropriate. My shop cabinetry is all put together with a Kreg jig.

View MrRon's profile

MrRon

5364 posts in 3546 days


#10 posted 07-10-2017 07:09 PM



Why are we ignoring the Domino machine? ”. There are machine that make all the joints you mention in you post.

- AlaskaGuy


I ignored the Domino because it is acknowledged to be the best at what it does. If I had a Domino, I wouldn’t be having this discussion. In that case, I would be ignoring all the other joint making methods.

View jonah's profile

jonah

2039 posts in 3602 days


#11 posted 07-10-2017 07:23 PM

Also because it’s incredibly expensive.

View MrRon's profile

MrRon

5364 posts in 3546 days


#12 posted 07-10-2017 07:34 PM

The problem with most butt joints is the two boards don’t come together perfectly. This happens because the boards are not perfectly equal in thickness. If we try to center a dowel hole on the edge of the board, an adjacent hole might not be centered. If we locate holes referenced from only one surface, one side will be flush, but the other side will have some mismatch and that will require sanding or planing down to achieve a flush surface. IMHO dowels and splines appear to be the best for flush alignment, but the boards need to be prepared carefully as to squareness, straightness and thickness. Even when using a Domino, the same wood preparation still applies.

I just finished putting 2 table top together. I used biscuits on one and splines on the other. The splined joint was better aligned and required less sanding to make flush. The biscuit joint had too much slop and required much more sanding for good alignment.

Because of the difficulty of getting well aligned butt joints, I try to stay clear of butt joints altogether; that’s where plywood comes to the rescue.

View waho6o9's profile

waho6o9

8598 posts in 2880 days


#13 posted 07-10-2017 07:34 PM

Dowels work well for me.

View jonah's profile

jonah

2039 posts in 3602 days


#14 posted 07-10-2017 07:47 PM

If two boards aren’t exactly equal in thickness, no alignment system is going to save you, so I’m not sure I understand your point.

View Planeman40's profile

Planeman40

1365 posts in 3064 days


#15 posted 07-11-2017 06:02 PM

I have a quick and sure way of doing dowel joints. I glue the joint and THEN drill the dowel holes from the outside and insert the dowels. Not good for fine furniture, but great for most everything else. Just view the sanded dowel ends as just a decorative part of the design. : )

-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

View William Shelley's profile

William Shelley

609 posts in 1772 days


#16 posted 07-11-2017 07:06 PM

Nobody mentioned a simple finger joint done with a router or shaper cutter. Surely that has to be the easiest (albeit relatively weaker) method of butt-joining two boards together.

I’ve actually been pretty impressed with some of the finger-jointed pine boards that are sold in big box stores. They’re able to use spruce/pine/fir, and either they cut around the knots or they use clear offcuts from other manufacturing, and produce a straight, clear, and consistent board that is probably not terribly different in terms of strength compared to a solid board of the same dimensions, but is more dimensionally stable.

-- Woodworking from an engineer's perspective

View JackDuren's profile

JackDuren

388 posts in 1262 days


#17 posted 07-11-2017 09:08 PM


Why are we ignoring the Domino machine? ”. There are machine that make all the joints you mention in you post.

- AlaskaGuy

I use two of them, but still prefer dowels for my personal projects…

View Loren's profile

Loren

10477 posts in 3951 days


#18 posted 07-11-2017 09:20 PM

In industrial doweling situations too much
glue can cause hydraulic separation of
dowel joints while too little leaves the
joint starved. Perhaps this is why starved
joints are found in doweled furniture.

In doweling by hand I usually brush the
dowel and the inside of the hole with glue,
which takes some time, but it probably
avoids the two problems I described.

Industrialized doweling of casework and
furniture using insertion tools that put
dowels in is known to be a sensitive
process in terms of quality control. It
is, tough, quite fast and if the glue is
done right probably holds up quite well.

EDIT: “tough” should read as, “though”.

View JackDuren's profile

JackDuren

388 posts in 1262 days


#19 posted 07-11-2017 09:23 PM


In industrial doweling situations too much
glue can cause hydraulic separation of
dowel joints while too little leaves the
joint starved. Perhaps this is why starved
joints are found in doweled furniture.

In doweling by hand I usually brush the
dowel and the inside of the hole with glue,
which takes some time, but it probably
avoids the two problems I described.

Industrialized doweling of casework and
furniture using insertion tools that put
dowels in is known to be a sensitive
process in terms of quality control. It
is, tough, quite fast and if the glue is
done right probably holds up quite well.

- Loren

You have to brush the Domino for good contact as well. We doweled everything in the 80’s. Now everyone wants the new cheat of a Domino.

It use to be the Lamello,Leigh and Bessey k-Body clamps. Now It’s a anything Festool especially a Domino,SawStop and still Bessey.

I find if it’s cheap everyone’s got it and if it’s expensive, it’s a conversation and those who have it to brag about.It’s just a tool…..

View Loren's profile

Loren

10477 posts in 3951 days


#20 posted 07-11-2017 09:31 PM

double post.

View Loren's profile

Loren

10477 posts in 3951 days


#21 posted 07-11-2017 09:34 PM

I find if it s cheap everyone s got it and if it s expensive, it s a conversation and those who have it to brag about.It s just a tool…..

Yeah, I think so too. I think the most time to
be saved of any common furniture making
process is probably in sanding and if we
were all as serious about that as we are about
finding the most ideal joinery method we’d
all be building or buying stroke sanders.

View JackDuren's profile

JackDuren

388 posts in 1262 days


#22 posted 07-11-2017 09:39 PM

This is the kind we used in the 80’s…..

View Loren's profile

Loren

10477 posts in 3951 days


#23 posted 07-11-2017 09:52 PM

I wanted one of those for awhile but after
I got a single-hole model with an air
pedal I stopped looking. I also have
a Mafell hand held doweling machine that’s
similar to the domino but drills 2 holes
on 32mm centers.

View DS's profile

DS

3089 posts in 2723 days


#24 posted 07-11-2017 10:12 PM

I personally like doweling. I have a nice enough jig and enough patience that it works fine for me.

In industrial applications, i.e. production furniture, the dowels come pre-glued (just add water) and then are auto-inserted using CNC horizontal boring machines.

Even that technology is considered by most to be outdated and time consuming compared to mechanical fastening systems nowadays which lock into CNC routed joints on a nested router. (One machine vs. two, or three with the added benefit of KD to the end user)

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

5134 posts in 2612 days


#25 posted 07-11-2017 11:19 PM



Why are we ignoring the Domino machine? ”. There are machine that make all the joints you mention in you post.

- AlaskaGuy

I use two of them, but still prefer dowels for my personal projects…

- JackDuren


Jack, you know enough about wood work and do nice work….....But it’s time to ask boss for a day off so you can study up on taking and posting picture. :)

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View 000's profile

000

2859 posts in 1202 days


#26 posted 07-11-2017 11:22 PM

I still have a one holer, but don’t use it all that often.
Very strong when glued properly, (spiral cut dowels)

View Planeman40's profile

Planeman40

1365 posts in 3064 days


#27 posted 07-12-2017 12:33 AM

”In industrial doweling situations too much glue can cause hydraulic separation of dowel joints while too little leaves the joint starved.”

Very true. This is why many commercially available dowels have grooves in the sides to let the excess glue and air escape when pressing the dowel into the hole. I always make my own dowels from commercially available 36” long dowel stock and after cutting to size I always chamfer one end to make it easier to get started in the hole. I also bandsaw a 1/8” deep vertical slot in the side of the dowel to allow the air and excess glue to escape. This way I can apply an even coat of glue to both the dowel and hole for a superior glue joint. I strongly believe in coating all of BOTH surfaces of a joint with glue before assembling the joint. I haven’t had one break or come apart yet.

And a point regarding the old glues and the new glues. The new glues are so superior to the old hide glues used in the old furniture that a lot of the complicated classic joinery is really not needed these days. I know others will deny this, however “that’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it!” : )

-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

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